Master Cleanse Cheats – What’s Ok, What Isn’t OK

Those who cheat while doing The Master Cleanse are called Master Cleanse Cheats! Or are the “Master Cleanse Cheats” those tricks that are allowable, the “hacks” if you will, the grey-area you can search for to lean on when feeling confined by the strict bounds of stanley burroughs original Master Cleanser recipe.

Well we won't point fingers and call names here. You're not a cheat. Or a liar. Or a thief. Sorry, movie quote (or something) slipped in there.

Rather, we'll spin the word “Cheat” to our purposes of

There are degrees of cheating. Here are some listed in order from questionability to acceptability.

Drinking more juice

Some people think the limit is 6-12 glasses and anything less or more is cheating. Drinking more simply increases your calorie intake and you will not lose as much weight. There is actually a persoanlly dependent scale of diminishing returns, which is to say there is a magic number of drinks for where you stop losing weight that is different for everyone.

Taking ingredients separately

Obviously, taking extra lemon juice, maple syrup, or a teaspoon of cayenne won't hurt either as they are the ingredients of your lemonade. You can also suck on the pulp of one of the lemons you use to make the juice. Try taking a small dose of maple syrup alone, just to get the sweet taste unaltered by the cayenne and the lemons. Sometimes, that can be all you need to fight off psychological cravings.

Drinking Herbal Teas

These have been inferred as OK based on strict Burroughs rules that stated “Occasionally, if one has no desire for even this, try some hot peppermint tea. It gives a clean feeling and is a wonderful tonic” –however the context of this quote provides more confusion that clarity as to whether peppermint teas, and herbal teas in general are Stanley approved. I make the argument that herbal teas are already part of the routine in the form of the herbal laxative, and that at the very least Stanley mentioned one may take peppermint tea to open the smallest crack to all my rationale to allow for any herbal tea that doesn't have a significant medicinal effect. You have to be careful, caffeine comes to mind, but herbal teas like dandelion, or licorice root are very powerful. Then there is also the confusion of what defines a “herb”. Stick to simple innocuous teas. And double down on your cheats by adding a little maple syrup or lemon, or even cayenne pepper to make your own blends.

Substitutes for Lemons, Maple Syrup, Cayenne Pepper and other Ingredients

Yes, you can substitute certain ingredients (see why lemon, why maple, why cayenne). You can even customize your cleanse, but there are many, many outcomes possible. Some are simple. Others not so much. People want to make their cheats seemingly insignificant by saying (what if I just have some other juices too?). The answer always is, you certainly can, but then your on another form of Juice Fast, and no longer doing The Master Cleanse. Long story short, unless your a “Master” cleanser, keep your cheats to those listed on the “Master Cleanse CHEAT SHEET” and you'll be fine. When you're a Master Cheater, you'll know it.

Eating “Other” Foods

Digesting any food will cause your body to be less efficient at eliminating archived waste. By eating, you'll set of a cascade of events that is the miracle of digestion, metabolism, immunity and so much more. The Master Cleanse was designed to rest your digestive system and instruct your body to enter a new phase of being, called autophagy, which is like a “spring cleaning” for your body and cells now that it has a chance to get rid of any junk or waste material that may have built up, and repair the damage of oxidative stress. When you start eating, this phase shifts out, and you lose the wonderful, well documented science of cellular rejuvenation. That said, If you must cheat, simply take more of the ingredients included in the diet and if that won't do, don't break more than one law at a time. Try organic, easily digestible juices or pastes. Sometimes, I suck on half a teaspoon of peanut butter (don't tell anyone), but be WARNED: Cheating with hard to digest complex foods will likely lead to some digestion problems, usually not serious but it can be, and it is almost always a little uncomfortable.


Chewing and not swallowing will cause your body to begin the digestive process and secrete acids. This is bad for your stomach – so, no gum either. I admit I have been guilty of this during my 2nd attempt (both epic fails). There is also the added problem of setting gut-mind imbalances that are at the heart of eating disorders like bulimia. You might think this Master Cleanse cheat is less cheaty than actually eating other foods, and you would be what I call wrong (ish). If you're going to eat. Commit to it. The food tease is more harmful than the food. Your body knows what to do with food. It doesn't know what to do when food starts coming, but then doesn't arrive.

Swallowing Other Stuff

Leading our FAQ's is always questions about prescriptions and supplements, as well as a common trick of taking your cayenne capsule form. You should stay on your medications because because generally speaking any problems of a hard-quit of these is more problematic than staying on them. But the rest isn't needed. Especially anything artificial that causes a digestive process to unfold. I always picture that supplement laying barren on the fields of my stomach lining while all the acids and juices and enzymes etc. descend upon this little hard, non-food-stuff.

What to do if you cheat on The Master Cleanse?

You have two choices: Quit, or keep going (duh right). But it is really that simple. Yes, you impacted your cleanse. But just as you started, you can easily just re-start. Then again if you cheated because you really aren't ready for this, and binged out for a day or more, maybe you should re-group and try again with a fresh mental slate.

Is there a Master Cleanse Cheat Day?

With the rise in interest towards Fasting and Intermittent Fasting, many people are starting to ask about cheat days. Because of the nature of the fasted state, and being in it for a long term phase as opposed to single meal skipping, or short term 1-day fasts, you really should cheat in the sense of a Fast/Feast dynamic. BUT… that said. YOu can certainly modulate your fasted state into a Ease-Between phase, where you take Smoothies, Soups, Salads etc. in a similar fashion as to the Ease-In or Ease-Out. Depending on how long you're been in a long-term fasted state, the longer your transition to more complex foods should be.

Juice fasting as a cheat day sounds pretty good to me!

69 thoughts on “Master Cleanse Cheats – What’s Ok, What Isn’t OK”

  1. Can you drink organic juice (veggies/fruits) while on the master cleance or just the master cleanse itself to loose weight ?

  2. This is my 4th time doing the cleanse. I’ve tried it for 2 weeks – the shortest length of time and lasted 22 days – the longest.
    I don’t use the salt water flush. I drink lots of water in between cleanse drinks. I do initially experience headaches but they go away after day one or two. I tend to lose 1 pound a day and can honestly say I’m a MASTER cleanser!

    • Dory, please share with your experience on going back to food after Master Cleanse. This is my first time cleanse and I’m very anxious on how will I do…

  3. I’m a 64 year old active person on day 11. I’ve done the cleanse yearly for many many years. I never go less than 2 weeks and sometimes a full month. I was wondering if an older person has to worry about any ill effects from these long fasts. I always have energy to work and exercise: cold water surfing being my favorite.
    What do people think?

  4. Can I incorporate baked vegetables lightly seasoned for dinner for my cleanse? Will it still be cleansing anything? I want to do the cleanse for about 40 days, but I realized by Day 5 that I kept cheating with vegetables. I am craving brussel sprouts and broccoli so bad no joke. I need something in my mouth to keep me from falling to bad. I also work daily with kids, and their cheez-its, cookies, crackers, weird juices and things I never paid much attention to are starting to catch my eye. Can I have vegetables on this cleanse?????

  5. So I did almost 6 days and I’m doing until day 15 but got craving of something sweet so I made a bit of coconut milk, cinnamon, tea and maple syrup. I will keep doing my cleanse, this is when you really need something asap. LOL!

  6. So I am on day 5, and as dance pre-professionally, I have been exercising very vigorously for the past few days. I feel great, but I was worried about having enough calories, so I just ate two slices of lemon doused in maple syrup and cayenne. As these are the ingredients that I have been drinking, does this count as cheating and/or will I feel ill from it?

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